The idea of passing through Roscommon was to do a little more family research. Neil’s farther Frank had his parents pass away when he was very young. As a result we do not have a lot of info on how the family ended up in Australia, or how many generations ago they arrived. We do know that the Hannan families which are of Irish background were quite wide spread from Roscommon to Sligo, Galway and down to Limerick. We have only done minimal research so far but thought it would be worth calling through this area to see if there was any interesting facts about the history of the name.
We asked the people we were staying with if they knew the name and they did. They told us there were many Hannan’s and Hannon’s around the area and we should probably start by going to the Hannon Hotel in town that is still owned by Hannons. We did this and the lady we spoke to said there is a lot of info at the local library.
It was still early in the morning and the library didn’t open until 1:00pm. We had planned to stay at Limerick next and had a couple of things to see on the way. So confident that we were now in the heart of Hannan territory we decided to skip that library and keep on the move, asking talking to people along the way. We visited the Roscommon castle ruins on our way out then hit the road.
Inside the ruins of Roscommon Castle.
We were heading for Limerick. On our way was yet another castle called Dunguaire. We stopped again for photos but did not go in. Each castle seems to charge between 10 and 20 Euros per person and if we entered each one we came across, we would be all broke and back in Australia by the end of the week.
Dunguaire Castle from another view.
While we had stopped we grabbed a bite to eat for lunch in the town. It was a nice little fishing village, and we all enjoyed a bit of a walk around before continuing on toward Limerick.
Lunch at the hanging table.
Crab Claws and Guinness – ummmm!
We arrived at our B & B in Limerick all pretty excited because tonight we had booked into a Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle. So we checked in, had showers and got ready, then headed off. Arriving at the castle we made our through the grounds and went in. We were told to go up stairs first where we were greeted at the door by the hosts all in full costume. They handed us each a mug of Mead – a honey wine. There was a harp player and violinist in the center of the room just playing away while all the guests arrived.
Once everyone was there, we were greeted by the staff of the castle who would be entertaining us tonight. They gave us some history on the castle and what a typical banquet would have been like in medieval times. They then picked a king and queen out of the audience and we all moved down stairs to begin dinning.
Pre dinner entertainment.
The tables were all setup – long timber benches with white wine, red wine and water in large jugs, plates and 1 knife each. They explained that we would be eating with our fingers tonight and using our ‘daggers’ to assist in dividing up the meat. They then explained that as the evening progressed, there would be lots of entertainment and if we liked anything at all we could clap, cheer and bang as loud as we could on the tables.
Then the food came out. First soup, which we drank straight from the bowl. Next, huge plates of spare ribs, which we ripped up with our fingers and ‘daggers’. Next chickens and vegetables. Then desert of some berry tart thing. They did give us spoons for this but we had to feed the person beside us – hahaha it was all very good fun.
Nothing but daggers and fingers.
As we were dinning they regularly consulted the King and Queen – usually to make sure they approved the food for each course they bought out. There was constant entertainment such as singing traditional Irish songs. Then while they were serving a course the guy who was running the show came over to our table and asked us how we were enjoying ourselves. He then turned his attention to Shaun and said I need a scoundrel tonight and you look perfect for what I need.
Looking for a scoundrel.
During one of the courses the main man stood up and announced that there was an intruder amongst us, someone who had been playing up with the women of the castle – a scoundrel. The King was then given some information and told to read out the name of the scoundrel, of course, Shaun Hannan. I was he told to stand up and marched to the dungeons, slamming the door behind me. After giving a run down of the charges, I had to scream from the depths of the dungeons a couple of times; I was bought back up to face the king and the crowd and made to sing for my innocence. I sang Waltz Sing Matilda, and everyone joined in. It was all very funny.
Shaun facing the audience after being released from the dungeons.
Singing for his forgiveness.
Enjoying the food and entertainment.
Feed your partner for desert.
The evening went on with endless entertainment and food and wine. Everyone had a great night – it was well worth doing.